Archive | July, 2012

The Auction Property Which Will NOT Sell!

27 Jul

Today I can’t decide if I had a lucky escape…or if luck is on my side.

So the story starts last June – this diddy shop came up for sale in Lewisham, London.

loampit hill shop for sale

It’s not much to look at, and there’s not much to it: it’s a single storey retail unit.

However, it was located on a major road and had potential for high visibility for an incoming business.  I pondered to myself about having a London branch of Gorgeous Homes

I looked into the property more: I was a little deterred by the multiple bankruptcy petitions registered on the title, and I was rather perturbed by the “tunnel” which council records claimed existed which linked a subterranean floor underneath.  “Oh well”, I reasoned: “that’s a whole extra floor I didn’t know existed!” However, the major issue for me, was the planning history showed that twice before the planners had refused change of use from the present A1 usage to A2 -which is what I would need to use it as a property lettings office for Gorgeous Homes.

So I left it.

And I watched as it sold at auction last June for £65k.

But that was not the end of the story.

Just three months later, in September, I saw the property was back in auction again with a different auction house.  And it had a very low guide.  I mused on it for a short while. But, left it.

It went to auction – and failed to sell – even though the reserve was a measly £48k.  That’s a massive £17k less than what the current owner had paid for it just three months prior!

And then the next month, I see the property listed with a different auction house and again it doesn’t sell!

And then it all goes quiet for 6 months.

Until this boomerang of a property re-appears at a June 2012 auction.  Again, it’s with another different auction house – but this time it looks rather different.  This time the shop seems to have morphed into some strange mongrel property – a bit of a cross between a bus shelter and a wall!

loampit hill property for auction


On top of this – the property is now rented at a whopping £240 per week – which on the latest reserve of £54k would produce a mind boggling yield of 23% in London!

And again it doesn’t sell.

Come July 2012 and there it is again with another auction house…and again it doesn’t sell.

Then just 2 weeks later…it’s back again – and again it doesn’t sell!

That was yesterday.

And so curiosity got the better of me: Was it a sign?

Did I keep seeing this property at auction and did it keep not selling because it was my *destiny*?

So I looked into it again – I had to!

Of course, it came as no surprise that the recent conversion works were done without planning permission or building regulation approval.  And it came as no surprise that within the last few days the council have issued a notice under Section 36 of the Building Act 1984 to remove the works within 28 days or face legal action.

And I did chuckle when I saw in the legal pack a special condition which stated: “time of the essence” which in basic English means the owner is desperate to get rid.  So desperate, in fact, you will potentially be completing the sale in just 5 days! (as opposed to the usual 28 days).

So having looked into it more what do I think?  Hmmm…with the council deadline looming fast I think that property just got quite a bit cheaper!


How to Buy Auction Property: From Viewing to Exchange in Under 3 Hours!

19 Jul

Today I have astounded myself.  Yes, I have to be honest, I really have been surprised at the speed at which even I have bought a property!

So the day started at 10am – I viewed a property in Stevenage.  I know it’s a town not to everyone’s taste, however it’s massively popular with families and commuters as it’s just a 20 minute train journey from London and house prices are dirt cheap in comparison.

It’s also located just 15 minutes away from where I live – which makes it a very quick commute for me.

So I turn up and the viewing doesn’t start well.  For the life of me, I cannot find the property. I can find every number either side – but not *the* property I had come to see.

A call to the agents puts me right and I am rescued by the viewer who politely escorts the numpty (aka me!) to the property.

Once inside, I am pleasantly surprised. I know it’s a probate sale, but it is so clean and tidy – not usual auction fodder!  Yes, it’s dated – but you know it has been loved, it’s got double glazing, a lovely garden and was also situated on a popular estate close to the Old Town.

The pressure was on though…the property had not sold at auction yesterday afternoon…and now an offer had been received.

If I wanted it I had to act quick.

Walking around the property I would love to tell you about the period features and all that junk, but you know what, I can’t. It’s a 1960’s property with generous proportions which needs updating.

Looking around the house, I just couldn’t help but feel what an *easy* project it would be…and I couldn’t get over the fact it was just 15 minutes away from my home.  And – it had potential to be gorgeous!

I had a think. I had a look again. I ummed and arrhed…family homes are not really my bag of chips….

And then I decided to have a coffee and mull. I did my sums and I phoned a property friend.

The resale value of the property was around £195-£200k so there was profit to be made.

I was driving back home and still mulling it over…then I remembered the stairs in the property.  While not a period staircase, I remembered them being spacious.  Yes, I decided: I will make a feature of the spacious stairs! I will get *cool* stripey stair runner carpet – that will make it look fab! And in that moment the decision was made: I was buying the house!

This house needed me and my stripey stair case runners!!

striped stair carpetstriped stair carpetstriped stair carpetstriped stair carpetstriped stair carpetstriped stair carpet


So I called the auction house and told them I would give £147k.  I knew the reserve was £153k, but £147k was my best and final offer.  Take it or leave it.

They took it!  They called me back just 5 minutes later and asked me to go to the office to pay the 10% deposit and the memorandum of sale.

12.55pm I was at the office completing the paperwork and paying the dosh – less than 3 hours after I first viewed the property.

Now – even for me – that is a record auction purchase!  All I’ve got to do now – is track down the stripey stair runner carpet…

How To Make £83k Profit From A £30k Auction Property!

10 Jul

Today I am HUGELY excited to share an auction bargain success story with you!

So this story starts last month…I was flicking through the auction catalogues and noticed a flat which had not sold at auction.  I know, at first glance, it’s not very exciting – it’s a flat above a commercial property and it’s in a place called Torrington in Devon which I have never heard of.  Which is probably why it didn’t get sold at auction in London.

torrington flat for auction

Anyway, I was drawn to the property. I could see from the photograph it was a period property, and looked to be on the high street which had an ‘olde worlde’ feel about it.  The description told me it was a 3 bedroom flat – which straight away made me keener – could this be a split level flat?  And then *kaboom* the reserve.  It was £30,000.

Now this is Devon we’re talking about.  This isn’t some council housing estate in the North – this is a 3 bed flat in Devon for £30,000…well it had to be worth a closer look!

So I downloaded the legal paperwork for the property and did some more research. It turned out the flat was a HUGE 3 bed – in fact it was 94 square metres – which is the equivalent size of many 3 bedroom family homes.  “Hmm” I thought to myself  “I am sure this flat could be split into two smaller units to maximise the value”

So I started doing some research on Torrington in Devon.  It sounded a sweet market town and had actually featured recently in The Telegraph’s Top 20 Secret Retreats with this lovely image to depict the area and the following write up:

Torrington, Devon

This is a quiet market town, mostly set on a hill in north Devon, with a large common and plenty of good walks. The old railway line is now part of the 32-mile Tarka Trail, going to Bideford and Barnstaple.  Insider tip Torrington is small and unassuming. “It’s beautifully rural but not yet fashionable. Good-value properties can still be found,” says Gideon Sumption, of Stacks. Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts lives in this area on his horse stud farm.  (The Telegraph: April 2012)

It sounded a lovely place to own a property – and so I checked the distance on google maps – it was hundreds of miles away.  I realised it was going to be quicker for me to fly to Dubai than it would be for me to view this property.  And as much as I wanted to take this development on, I just didn’t have enough hours in the day…or for the foreseeable future.

Damn, I thought to myself, what a shame when this seems such a bargain.

And it bothered me.

What could I do?

I really hate having to pass up on potential property auction bargains.

And then *lightbulb moment* I remembered a conversation I had, had the previous month with Noel, one of my other half’s work colleague’s down the pub.  I remembered Noel telling me how he and his wife were keen to do a property development. And then I remembered that he works in London during the week but goes back to his family in Taunton at the weekend….and so I got onto google maps again: Just how far is Taunton from Torrington?

And it wasn’t that far!

Well, it was within an hour and so I thought…maybe…maybe I could match a wannabe-developer-duo with an auction property bargain in need of some TLC?


Noel and his wife viewed the property the very next day and decided to buy at the £30k auction reserve.

And who can blame them – yes, granted it needs work – but just take a look at the HUGE potential this place has!  And from the top floor there are some stunning views over the rolling Devon hills!

torrington flat for auctiontorrington flat for auctiontorrington flat for auctiontorrington flat for auctiontorrington flat for auctiontorrington flat for auctiontorrington flat for auctiontorrington flat for auctiontorrington flat for auction


As it was an auction purchase, completion was set for 28 days later and they’ve just completed.

I am pleased to report Noel is looking to split the property into two 1 x bed flats – which (after costs) will net him in the region of £83,000! Which is a fantastic result given he bought the property for just £30,000! But, even if he doesn’t get planning he is still looking at a respectable £36,000 profit for the property when refurbished.

And just to show how important it is to do your homework – even if the property does not sell – there is strong rental demand which will ensure the property produces double-digit yields!

And so it just goes to show – auction bargains are there for the taking – but you do have to do your homework – and be prepared to travel!

I will keep you updated with Noel’s progress…

Are YOU A Property Angel?

5 Jul

property angel

Today I am on the hunt…

I am looking for a Full Time Property Angel for our lettings business in Stoke on Trent.

If you are the person, or you know anyone who may be – please get in touch.

Here’s the detail:

We are a small and successful lettings agency based in Stoke on Trent.

Customer service and ensuring tenant satisfaction and landlord happiness are our key aims.

We are looking for someone to take over the day to day running and management of the business in conjunction with another member of staff.

We run a tight, but happy ship.  We only work with people we like.

What are we looking for?


…who is passionate about people and property and knows the lettings market inside out

…who wants the pleasure and pain of being the “boss”… and who in the future will reap the benefits

…who wants to go one better, be one better and is not afraid to show it – or do it

…who is organised, can juggle inspections, viewings and chasing arrears

…who is looking to build a long term relationship and who is committed and loyal

…who is assertive and confident and is not afraid to speak their mind

…who is happy, smiles and enjoys being with people and doing a good job

…who has their own transport and a driving licence

What do you get in return?

  • To work with an agency who cares
  • To work with an agency who is not scared to go one better
  • To be a part of, and help mould the agency to become bigger and better than any of us ever imagined
  • And you’ll even get paid for the pleasure! (salary negotiable)

If this sounds like you, please get in touch telling us why you’re great and how you’ll make us great.


Property Auction Bargain: A Castle at 96 Per Cent BMV – And The Ghosts Come For Free!

3 Jul

Well it’s not everyday you find a castle for sale at a property auction – and especially not one with a knock down reserve price of just 50,000 euros.

But that’s what we have on offer with Allsop Space distressed property auction being held this Friday 6 July.

White’s Castle at Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland offers a grand address and an even grander saving if you can buy it anywhere near the reserve price – as this castle was bought for 1.2 million euros in 2005. At 50,000 reserve price that is a 96% DISCOUNT on the price paid in 2005!

Now I know Ireland has had the bottom, head, top, middle and any other ligament drop out of it’s property “market” *bubble* – but still this is a potential auction discount of staggering proportions!  That is just 4%, yes FOUR PER CENT of what was paid for White’s Castle in 2005!

So what is on sale:

The property comprises a detached castle arranged over ground, first and second floors. It is believed to have been built in 1417 by Sir John Talbot, Viceroy of Ireland, to protect the bridge over the River Barrow. Built into the wall on either side of the original entrance doorway are two sculptured slabs which state that the castle was previously owned by the Earl of Kildare signified by the coat of arms to the right of the entrance doorway. The property is a protected structure.

So what does a 50,000 euro castle in Ireland look like – from the outside it’s impressive:

whites castle athywhites castle athywhites castle athy


Internally, it’s clearly in need of *some* refurbishment!

whites castle athywhites castle athywhites castle athywhites castle athywhites castle athywhites castle athy

But, what I hadn’t bargained for in doing my ‘due diligence’ was the number of paranormal investigations which have been undertaken at the castle…I’m not sure what the presence (or not) of these spooks are meant to prove…but I, for one, won’t be adding any premium for the existence (or otherwise) of ghosts at White’s Castle!

If you like a spook hunt – here are some vids from the ghosthunters at White’s Castle:



This sold for 195,000 e – which is still a whopping discount!!